Planetary classification is an official UNME term referring to the process of distinguishing planets in several categories of habitability and economic purpose. It is not the same as the classical classification of planets, that concerns itself with the physiological traits of a planet. The habitability of the planets within the UNME territory is classified according to a number of system, of which the Hinckley Scale is used the most. It consists of a five grades of habitability by human, that distinguishes between the suitability for settlement, the hazards for human survival, and the sustainability of colonies.
The first three grades are considered not suitable for permanent, large-scale human settlement, whereas grades IV and V are considered suitable for mass colonization.The SKYWATCHER program is in charge of describing and grading planets accordingly, and writing recommendations for the United Nations Colonial Authority. Together with the Hermes and Perseus programs, the SKYWATCHER programs maintain research teams for in sito investigation of the planetary circumstances.
The Hinckley scale takes into account almost all factors concerning sustainability of a human settlement on a planet, and uses atmospheric data, ore reports, wildlife studies and other methods of planetary research.
Other methods of description of habitability are the Heizelberg Classification System for Planetary Research (HCSPR) and the Milton-Munchhausen Method for Extrasolar Research (Triple M Researching).The first is mainly used for classification of planets according to the effects of human exposure to the atmosphere of that particular planet, i.e. what happens when people without a spacesuit enter the environment of that planet. The latter method is used for the economic benefits of starting a colony on a planet, that is, will the colony be sustainable economically, not just for research purposes.
Hinckley Scale Edit
- I - The planet is deemed not suitable in any way for human visitation.
- II - The planet is deemed suitable for visitation, but not for habitation.
- III - The planet is deemed suitable for habitation, but not deemed suitable for economic purposes and/or the health risk and accompanied hazards are too high for large-scale, citizen settlement.
- IVa - The planet is deemed suitable for (mass-)colonization, but some adaptation measures have to be taken to accomplish this, i.e. breathing implantates, training, terraforming or replantation of earth-bound plants. The planet is not of direct economic need, but is economically sustainable.
- IVb - Same as IVa, except that the resources found on that planet are vital to the UNME economy.
- IVc - Same as IVa, except that the planet is not directly economically sustainable, but has some important strategic value.
- V - The planet is deemed suitable for habitation, and is reminiscent of earth. Little or no adaptation measures have to be taken.
Every planet graded I, II or III (not economically or strategically beneficial for the UNME) can be suffixed by a “m” and a subsequent number ‘’n’’, meaning that the planet has ‘’n’’ number of moons that are of economic importance, or can be inhabited.
Prefixes used internally by SKYWATCHER but not in publications, are the exclamation mark (for planets currently being researched), the question mark (for planets that have been described, but are currently not researched) and the ampersand (for planets whose existence is not sure). In all cases the grade given is not an official one, but an estimate.